Sejal Shah is this week's Kenyon Review Online feature for her essay "Street Scene"!

Congrats, dear Sejal!


Street Scene

by Sejal Shah

Parisians call this neighborhood mixed. Mixed is code; it means immigrants. Think Brooklyn, Caitlin says. We are in the 20th Arrondissement, near Père Lachaise. I am here to see the Louvre and the Turkish Baths; I am here to visit my friend, Caitlin. I have a map and some time for wandering. To travel by yourself and enjoy it is a skill; I don't practice enough.

The 20th Arrondissement. Storefronts with fuchsia and blue signs; Senegalese behind tables of patterned scarves, watch caps, and leather bags; music, a low flare around which we warm ourselves at the park, at pool tables, at long wooden bars. LeeAnne isn't here to tell me where she stayed in Paris. When I think of her, I see us talking in my backyard, splashing in the pool, upstate New York summers. It surprises me. She was never there, but I can see it: the blue pool, our hideaway; beach towels; instant iced tea. I imagine we lay ourselves out on the uneven flagstones, waiting to be hot enough to peel ourselves off and fling ourselves into the water. If I close my eyes hard enough, if I squint, I can almost see it, this scene-that we grew up together. She was that kind of friend. As I walk through Paris, I keep expecting to catch a glimpse of her, vanishing into some narrow street.

. . . 

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 Sejal Shah is a writer and teacher of writing. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in journals and books including the Asian American Literary ReviewDenver QuarterlyIndiana Review, the Massachusetts ReviewPleiades, and Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America (Seal Press).